Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
The defense Klinsmann would choose seemed obvious just two days ago with Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Geoff Cameron and Fabian Johnson expected to be manning the back line. Now, it’s anyone’s guess as Klinsmann looks to fill the void at left back with Johnson and Castillo injured.
Unless Klinsmann calls in replacements, he will likely go with Michael Parkhurst. Parkhurst had a decent outing against Chelsea in last week’s Champions League match despite the fact that his Nordsjaelland side was beaten 4-0. Parkhurst also played well in the away leg against Jamaica, one of the few American players who had a good night in Kingston.
The other option would be to move Carlos Bocanegra to the left and insert Clarence Goodson into the center, but Bocanegra’s speed has made him more vulnerable out wide than he was in his younger years.
The midfield also presents Klinsmann with some difficult choices as many of his more competent wingers will not be available and, according to most pundits, the wide areas were where the U.S. struggled most in their first game against Jamaica last month.
If Klinsmann goes with his more recently preferred 4-1-3-2, he will likely play Michael Bradley as the holding midfielder, Jermaine Jones as the box-to-box midfielder and Graham Zusi on the right. The left midfield spot would be up for grabs as Klinsmann could select Joe Corona, Sacha Kljestan, Danny Williams or Clint Dempsey.
Corona is the only player currently on the roster with any real experience on the left.
Kljestan is naturally a center midfielder, although he has been deployed wide by the national team in the past.
Williams, who is a natural holding midfielder, has been shoe-horned by Klinsmann into the wide midfielder spot in the past but usually with unimpressive results.
Dempsey has proven for both the national team and with Fulham that he can play wide and do it well, but that would require Klinsmann to partner Herculez Gomez up top with USMNT newbie Alan Gordon or the recently recalled Eddie Johnson.
However, if Klinsmann goes with the 4-3-3 that he has traditionally shown deference to, he will likely go with Danny Williams in the holding role, Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley in the box-to-box roles and Clint Dempsey, Herculez Gomez and Graham Zusi up top. This lineup would make better use of the team’s available talent, although the U.S. has usually played better with a two-striker system.
Whatever lineup he goes with, this is no time for excuses; U.S. qualification becomes much easier with a win in Antigua.
Follow me on Twitter @AmerTouchline
Follow me on Facebook www.facebook.com/AmericanTouchline